India must ‘flatten the curve’, especially for those at the bottom of the pyramid. It has been nearly a week since the World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic. As of Monday, the number of positive cases worldwide stood at 150,000 and the number of deaths at 9,000.Most governments are now following the rule of social distancing. They are shutting down schools, colleges, universities, gyms and placing prohibitions on large gatherings of people. Companies are also increasingly telling employees to work for home in order to ‘flatten the curve‘.However, this remains a distant reality for the hundreds of thousands of domestic workers, safai karamcharis, delivery people and others in the unorganised sector. Physical interaction is vital to their survival and work from home is an unaffordable luxury.
In India, COVID-19 is an infection coming from the rich and infecting the poor, and yet, the poor are having to bear a large part of the burden and risk.